Likeability ain’t what it used to be

Mickey Kaus Columnist
Font Size:

Romney’s “likeability” hurdle may be lower than we think: One of the things Mitt Romney has to do in his convention address, it’s commonly said, is increase his likeability in order to be someone “with whom Americans can feel comfortable in their living rooms for the next four years.” If that were really the test, it might be a heavy lift for Gov. Romney. But I’m not sure the 2012 “likeability” hurdle isn’t lower than in previous elections, for two reasons: 1) The “living room” test dates from the Cronkite era, when everyone watched one of the three networks and having the President in your living room was unavoidable. Now there are thousands of channels, network domination is ending, and it’s easy to avoid seeing the president or any other politician if you’d rather see something else; 2) The voters who are least likely to spend the next four years with the president in their living rooms are probably the most likely to be swing voters, if  the experts are to be believed. They may see their role as picking someone to run the country–and then not seeing much of that person again until four years later (while they focus on their own predicaments, or tune in to the Food Network or ESPN). If they’re people who chose to follow political news regularly, they’re more likely than in earlier, less polarized eras to have already made up their minds. …

Mickey Kaus